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In Sustainocracy we define five core natural and human values that are a continuous responsibility of any society and its members. One of these values is health. If we look at the drawing above we see a neutral point defined. That is the point where an individual does not sense an illness and takes his or her degree of wellness for granted. Health is a matter of fact, just like breathing or a heart beat, it does not require thought or a sense of responsibility. If we place this neutral point in our Societal Context the question arises when health does become part of awareness? In general the answer is “when we become sick”.
Within the current Societal Context we have created a lifestyle and political-economic reality that produces social differences, pollution, wars, climat changes, destruction of landscapes, etc. In reality we produce an increasingly unhealthy environment. This means that the neural point rapidly moves into the wrong direction. As a consequence of our behavior we tend to become sick faster and faster. Around the treatment paradigm an huge structure of health care has been built with very large investigation institutes, control mechanisms and bureaucracy. The structure has been economized meaning that the citizens need to pay for healthcare through taxes, insurrance and direct payment. We hence pay the bill of our lifestyle and polluting societal context. Premature death is not just something that affects the individual but also the entire species. Costs of healthcare are rising exponentially and cannot be covered anymore by the majority of people. A change is needed, but how?
When we get back to the neutral point it becomes clear that we should not wait for things to go wrong with our health when signs of sickness appear, we should take proactive health measures to adopt a wellness driven lifestyle. This needs to be achieved through awareness and education. But how do you engage people to something that does not exist yet in their reality? How do we address wellness with massive amounts of people who seem to live life with a different set of priorities?
With these questions in mind 5 groups of international students of the University of Technology (Health and Technology) started to define projects in which they try to involve large groups of people in the paradigm of Wellness. Their challenge is to provide Proofs of Concept by testing their ideas in a real community and analyse the results, both of their estimates and what reality showed.
Five projects were defined:
- Smoking prevention in high schools
- Burnout prevention among teachers and students
- Lifestyle of students
- Integration of foreign students
- Clean city logistics by stimulating clean truck driving
Blog 2: The solution
After writting the blog about our entrapment in our own vulnerability we need to apply the law of opposites to show that breaking free is a serious option, applied by many around the world. It is not easy but once done a new world shows itself in which we can explore and develop ourselves to the full.
We just need to accept reality as it is, not just the vulnerable part of greed and destruction but also the powerful part of awareness and creation.
A human being is free, a citizen is not
When we look at ourselves as a biological member of our human species we are a single complete genetic entity, a symbiotic composition of billions of species that interact to keep that unique human being aliveand alert. At biological level we eat, drink, breath, mate and procreate, and finally die within the cyclic event of life. Such human being is born absolutely free. Free to make our own choices for survival, safety and comfort within our habitat, planet Earth, and how we organize ourselves effectively. In the natural living space there is no debt, no ownership, just usage of resources and an adaptive interaction with other species based on equality and respect. In nature everything is always strong and healthy, the unhealthy and weak disappear to give back the resources to nature for another life cycle. This we call evolution and we as individuals and community are part of that.
As citizen we are not free, we are part of a (formal) human group process. We have the ability to make arrangements in such group processes that help us live and survive, with safety and comfort, better than when we need to deal with this alone. In group processes we contribute as a member and interact with the group for best community performance. Communities tend to have unique characteristics that develop over time and may get into competition with each other for the protection of the group’s interest. Communities also tend to behave like individual species with the same type of living complexity expressed in terms of growth (greed), chaos (crisis), awareness (learning) and harmony (balans). Within such communities a set of rules determine the interaction between the members. When such community serves its members than the citizenship is never questioned. When however the community starts serving itself as an institution, at the expense of its members, than an invisible line of tension is crossed and citizens can revert back to their human freedom of choice. They stop being citizen in THAT community. No other person can oblige any one to remain member of a community as active civilian if that person does not want to. Unfortunately it is done continuously with law enforcement or empowerment of governance. Still, in absolute sense, even when put in prison, one remains always free at human level.
There are various ways to deal with the freedom of choice as human being and the obvious advantages of being member of a community. Of course this community needs to serve its members properly. The first option one has when stepping out as a citizen is to choose a new community which has a set of rules and behaviour that fits better one’s self aware judgments and desires.
I myself had this option when I became aware that the Dutch society had outgrown its human community characteristics and became a money driven institution at the expense of humankind, essentially totally absorbed in the list of vulnerability described in the previous blog. But where would I go? Holland, at institutional and governance level had a reached a point of self destruction. But at humanitarian level we had gone through an evolution too. Equality between men and women for instance was a socially accepted truth. In the mind of certain analysts such equality was created to get women to enter the labor force and contribute to capitalist economics with all the negative side effects. This may be partially true but at the same time, from a human and universal complexity point of view the acceptance that men and women are the equal but not the same is key to understand universal ethics and dynamic clustering of life.
In this duality of excessive institutionalized, money driven vulnerability and well balanced social equality, the Netherlands tends to offer a better evolutionary perspective than other communities where the money driven greed is not compensated by a minimum of gender equality. Another key element that motivates the stay in Holland is the freedom of speech and choice. The “system” may impose itself but when one turns its back to it there is an “isolation from the system” but not from the human part of society. In essence this too makes the Netherlands a vertile ground for the evolution of our species and experimentation with new structures of governance, culture and behavior.
So leaving Holland was not an option. Only very few places in the world would give me the level of freedom to evolve into something new rather than revolve in a fight against the old.
The second option one has is to create a community of one’s own, according one’s own insights and understanding. In a globalized political economic human world, fixated in its vulnerability but explained as a strength, such choice is extremely difficult. When I had to deal with this I made a distinction between the status of human being and freedom with that of citizen and community compliance. When looking at Holland, consisting of nearly 17 million inhabitants we can see 17 million human beings and nearly 17 million “compliant” citizens. Most of those citizens don’t realize their universal right to be free as human being. They take our community and its rules for granted.
In such universal freedom there is no debt, no property, no human legal system, no religion, no guilt. There is a right to determine or create community membership and citizenship. So when I address the fellow human being inmy surroundings then the conversation differs fundamentally from the address to the citizen. Even at professionalized level in the citizen’s world the so called “leaders” are also human beings. Often they are slave of the same system with the only difference that they are rewarded to make other people comply. I can address them also as human beings and challenge them to look at their citizen’s role in the community from a human perspective. Awareness is an awakening process which is best realized by taking people out of their mental or physical comfort zone.
Awareness driven human and citizenship
When I see the Dutch community as 17 million human beings that in potential can determine the characteristics of a totally new society, even though they are mostly actively and unaware involved in their old citizenship, then I can communicate with them as such. It does not matter in what role they operate in society, when they are invited to understand their human freedom we can openly reflect about change. When I started to do so in 2005 I found resonance with a very limited audience. Most people and structures were still confident that society as it was would remain. My own awareness had broken through in 2001 when I was taken out of my own mental and physical comfort zone and had to make my own decisions as human being, not as citizen. But the mental and physical comfort of the mayority of the Dutch back in 2005 was still happy with themselves. Only some resonance was gained in the field of entrepreneurship. Business people were encountering severe competition and needed to find ways to strengthen their proposition rather than continuously follow the decline of cost optimization in order to try to grown.
In 2008 this all changed when the creditcrisis threw many people off their comfortable throne with a mental wake up effect. Suddenly all executives as well as people in general were in crisis. The first reaction is to try to get back to the old and safe status quo. The second reaction was to see if change was an option. Most people acted in this on professional level, using the known instruments for that particular function and old societal context trying to make the best of it. No one had ever considered looking at it from their human perspective until I started inviting them to do so.
5 human core values
As human being I defined 5 core human values that are critical for our sustainable human evolution: Health, safety, regional self sufficiency, self awareness and fullfillment of our daily basic needs (1 kg of food, 3 kg of drinking water, 30 kg of healthy unpolluted air). each of these values is at jeopardy today and the lack of them causes the tremendous vulnerability described in the previous blog. From a human perspective it does not matter how rich you are and with how much power, the biological vulnerability is equal for all people. From a citizen’s perspective the awareness and related choices are critical as it determines the way one remains part of the problem or the solution. Some professionals get into a moral dillema when the difference between the realities displays itself to them. They have to make a decision:
- I neglect the awareness out of self preservation in the old reality
- I try to use my professional authority to make a difference by taking account of the core values
- I quit my job and make myself useful elsewhere using my newly acquired awareness
A new look at reality
Once we have been through the process of relativation of our human and citizen’s choices we start looking at reality in a totally different way. The vulnerability described before becomes an innovative challenge and the core human values a guideline. We cannot change 5000 years of city development over night but we can start with small steps. Some cities and regions are more difficult to transform from a quality of life perspective. Some even impossible. Knowing this we can even anticipate creating totally new living environments for the millions of people that otherwise would remain in a vulnerable situation. In the old reality of money driven citizenship this would be seen as a tremendous cost. In our new reality of core values driven cocreation it is seen as the engagement to make a difference between death and life. New techniques, visions, ideologies and methods can be experimented with to generate public engagement with the proper reward. Life is a great reward but when alive we need to have a house, food and other needs that we need to cocreate together too. Recently we looked for instance at the potential of the Pyramide City as self built, 100% self sufficient solution for all our unemployed and refugees. We can house over 6000 people on 1 km2 using local materials and building a totally circular economy.
It is a totally different way of organizing ourselves in which no political or economic parameters rule, nor a democratic hierarchy of self interests, but a cocreative mentality of everyone involved based on developing and maintaining our core values. We even defined this as Sustainocracy, a new type of democracy that respects authorities and professional specilizations but connects them in a new way around core challenges. The individual choice is hence not just in distinction between human and civilian realities but also in the way we contribute to progress with our professional responsibility and authority.
When individuals become aware of their human freedom of choice and the ability to redefine their conribution to sustainable human progress two realities get organized in parallel, the old vulnerable one that produced old securities and wellness but got us into trouble, and the new one that creates new securities by addressing the vulnerability through the leadership of core human rather than financial values.
While in the money based reality the relationships are built around financial transactions we see that the reality around core human values is built around project based cocreation and sharing of values. In money based city the citizen is a consumer of the city’s consumables (health care, housing, roads, parking, shops, theaters, events, etc) while in a core human values based community every person is a partner and participant sharing the progress and value creation. This means that a totally new value system is introduced, based on cocreation effort and sharing. This is not a relationship based on individual greed and dependence but of sharing and freedom.
Traditional infrastructural functions of governance are still needed but they are facilitating this participatory awareness driven eco-system based on harmonization instead of economic growth. This gives a significant different meaning to government and others in the field of cocreation. Technologies feed cocreation and awareness, not control and regulation. Governance, lawsystems, innovation, education and entrepreneurship get a totally new meaning and organization.
With appearance of two realities in one community one can live up to one or the other. Much better is to place both into perspective of eachother and relate them functionally. Suddenly we find that a large part of the old functional reality may remain alive and working blindly in the part that is claimed to produce vulnerability. Key is that the emphasys of our community direction is not anymore based on blind economic growth yet positioned at the side of values driven change. This does not mean that the economic growth parties are eliminate, not at all and on the contrary. Economic growth is good as long as it contributes to the solution rather than producing the problems. Economic growth will never challenge itself out of self interest. We need to have something beside which we call the Transformation Economy. Such economy keeps a look at the core human values and determines when the cocreative change is needed because the Growth economy crossed the line and started to produce measureable problems. Rather than raising taxes the Transformation economy raises royalties over the innovations that produce and enhance the core values while penalizing those old growth elements that measurably started to contribute to the problem. Like that the Transformation economy garantees the involvement of the specialized organization while redefining solutions through open innovation as these organizations are the ones that fragment the solutions into new products and services for the world market.
A simple choice
We have arrived at the conclusion that all our problems are solved instantly if we make our simplest choice. As human being we are free and responsible for our sustainable human progress. Once aware of that we can embrase the 5 core values and position ourselves at the side of sustainable leadership and the transformation economy. Our vulnerability is our challenge not our burden and our creativity and cocreation is our security for a safe future. Money is a means that may conditionally grow as long as it remains contributing to the global core values else we voluntarily change its content to something new. We don’t depend on banks, politicians or whatever to make this decision. When we do at our own human level we can invite others to join. As the consequences of our vulnerability grow there are more and more who are willing to chose the side of sustainable leadership and help restructure a society putting growth in balans with harmony. The cities, our places to live, our productivity and learning through awareness will then produce an evolutionary step for humankind. Life on Earth has evolved like this for 4.5 billion years. Now humankind can benefit from this unique awareness breakthrough and change our vulnerability in our strength. We don’t need to die, we need to learn how to live and act accordingly. We can only confirm what Snoopy and Charly Brown conversed and take the positive way.
Blog 1: The problem
Humankind is at risk due to its own entrapment in lethal societal structures, historically bad choices, lack of self aware leadership and the criminal hierarchical self interest of powerful individuals and institutions.
The evolution of our species has brought us to an unprecedented point of singularity, especially during the last few centuries. The final outcome of this situation is showing itself with peak impact in just a few decades, our own lifetime. Before listing our chances let’s list our risks and self inflicted vulnerability.
Vulnerability number 1: In the lethal hands of speculants
70% of the human species is now living in cities around the world. Cities are made of cement, glass and tarmac which we cannot eat or drink. For food, drinking water and any other basic needs we depend on production and logistics from outside the city. With a global population growth that multiplied by 7 over just a few centuries the competition for the world’s natural resources has grown to extreme proportions. Our individual dependence in cities to access those resources has been generalized through money. All the products, our protective housing, our care systems and social securities, and our financial means are in the hands of speculants who just serve their own (financial and power of control) self interest: banks, housing corporations, commercial organizations, insurrance companies, health care institutions and power driven politicians. In cities we are at mercy of their hunger of control and greed.
Vulnerability number 2: Our own mindless consumer lifestyle mentality
When we stopped being directly involved in the productivity of our own basic needs we also stopped thinking about our responsibilities. Our only modern concern is the availability of sufficient means to access the consumables for our needs. These needs are not adjusted anymore to life essentials or empathy with our environment but to lifestyle standards imposed by the perception of abundance in the city, our desire rather than needs, economic drivers, competitive surroundings and commercial interests. Not having access to sufficient luxury and wealth produces anxiety, stress and greed. This has many effects on the human evolution. On the one hand it stimulates our individualism, eliminates the group dynamics while developing social isolation. On the other hand it produces fears, criminality, a sense of competitive greed and a gradual break down of our sensorial intelligence and naturally automated resilience. In essence we become massively greedy, unaware, lazy and stupid. We become victim and slave of massive manipulation.
Vulnerability number 3: Genetic antropocene
The elimination of nature from our artificial city’s consumption based financial ecosystem, including the effects of the chemical industries on our manipulated perception of hygene and healthcare through fragmented substitutes of nature, also eliminates the natural defense mechanisms while making us increasingly vulnarable to our own pollution and the undesired manipulation of our genetic resilience. The human body is too complex to react as a virus to change. Our lifecycle of renewal is counted in decades and generations while a virus changes in seconds and produces generations in minutes. The only way to stay robust as a complex species is to find symbiotic harmony with our ever changing surroundings by interacting with it, not eliminating it. We have created a genetic antropocene next to the environmental antropocene that is already likely to eliminate us from the eco-system of life on Earth. Our genetic vulnerability will do the rest. Many children are born already with behavioral, emotional and physical disorders due to pollution, human chemical manipulation and stress. Most adults of today develop cancer and other human made health disorders.
Vulnerability number 4: Historic choices
Cities evolved around anything but core human evolutionary values. Who cared about the human individual? We seem to reproduce like rabbits, our population increases and there is always abundance for insensitive preditors like industrial manufacturers, war agents, financial economists, politicians, commercial interests, religious dogmatic fanatics and bankers. Historically choices were made around facilitating industrial development, governmental authority, logistic processes, defense mechanisms and money driven speculation. Never the human being was considered as an evolutionary responsibility, yet was used massively in trade, war, beliefs and political interests of someone else. As a consequence most cities are vulnerably in conflict with their own past:
- The origin of the city (as a geographically fixed accumulation of human beings) has often not much to do anymore with its current reality. Yet the basic structure, appearance and physical location of the city was determined back than and remains. Adjustments were made in a time of industrial processes, rapid influx of the people, the required housing and infrastructures, etc
- a consumption driven culture of trade, events and centralised accessibility appeared.
- The democratic impotence of our political economic context developed over time as a powerful mechanism for modern governance. This only works in situations of stability and growth. When however a severe crisis demands leadership of change the democracy becomes extremely conservative, demanding the return to old glory rather than adjustment into a new reality. Democracy is an instrument for expressions of self interest in a process of outsourcing responsibilities. It is backward protectionism, not forward adaptiveness.
- Capitalism was introduced in the 70’s as alternative to a link with the gold standard. It placed a debt burden on our future economic development creating a mortgage on labor and our planet. For some governments this was a way to address the increased cost of social security. The biggest mistake made ever was to make money, not social engagement, dominant in our society.
- Our 300 years of industrial expertise in effective and mechanical production of goods also started to dominate our public services. It produced a cold process of optimization rather than development around love and human empathy. Human beings became numbers, human problems became independent, fragmented issues and services became reactive rather than proactive. These services have developed into semi government institutions that protect their self interest and develop themselves over the back of tax increases, political conservative promises and financial insurrances.
- Citizen’s get hence forcefully capture in a structue of long term debt in which their lives are controled by banks, insurance companies and tax authorities. As a consequence large amount of citizens get into trouble, poverty rises and so does their sense of survival in a money dependent system. Legal rules are established to protect the money based system not the human integrity. People become desperate and do anything to survive. Chaos develops.
Vulnerability number 5: Destruction of our rural habitat
Money reigns, also in the competitive acquisition of resources from our rural surroundings. The constant hunger of cities and their population for cheap resources is killing our countryside, eliminating our water resources and producing climate change without precedence. Our attempt to control volume food production through single crop horizontal and mechanical production, using pesticided and fertilizers, is polluting our environment and our own selfs with chemicals. Meanwhile our climate has been disturbed up to a point of lethal natural catastrophes that try to re-establish a natural balance. We are confirmed to be the 6th cause of massive destruction of all life on Earth since the start of life 4.5 Billion years ago. Nearly all mayor species have already disappeared. Human beings are next in line of size and dependence of our environment. Only smaller species will have a chance to survive our massive destruction.
Our dependence on money, our blind lives in a speculative city environment and the massive social economic control instruments of multidisciplinary governance have made us come to a point of no return. If we uphold our current systems and lifestyle we will perrish. If we change we need to change everything against a tremendous effort. Can we do this? Yes we can, instantly. We have a choice. That is the content of the next blog.